BANGUED, Abra – Seven activists who were slapped with rebellion or insurrection charges express relief and vindication after a local court granted their motion to quash the charges against them.
In an order issued on May 11, 2023, Judge Corpuz Alzate of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2 gave favorable decision to the motion of the activists to declare the charges against them as void for lack of probable cause. The judge also ordered all warrants against them in connection with the case be quashed.
Windel Bolinget, chairman of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), in a statement stressed that the granting of their motion is a victory in continuing the struggle of the people for peace, justice and freedom. “Consequently, all warrants of arrest issued against us in connection with the case are ordered quashed,” he stated.
Bolinget, together with activists Jennifer Awingan, Sarah Abellon, Stephen Tauli, Lucia Lourdes Gimenes, Nino Joseph Oconer, and Florence Kang were charged by the military with rebellion charge on December 2022. They were connected to the armed men who ambushed four members of the Philippine Army on October 27, 2022 at Sitio Kutop, Barangay Gacab, Malibcong, Abra.
One of the “Northern Luzon 7”, Jennifer Awingan was arrested at her residence in Barangay Pinsao, Baguio City on January 20, 2023. She was then brought to the Abra Provincial Jail.
On February 2023, all seven activists were allowed by the court to post bail.
Bolinget expressed their gratitude to their lawyers and to the communities, allies, partners, and friends who he said continue to defend and in solidarity with them, their families, and organization against State political persecution and impunity. They also thanked the court for considering their motion.
`”As we have repeatedly said before, the case of rebellion/insurrection against us is baseless and fabricated,” said Bolinget. He added that they hope this will be the last of trumped-up charges for all activists.